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The ceremonial flags of Haiti, or drapo, reflect the creative impulse of Voudou and the intense process of cultural synthesis from which Voudon emerges. Kongo and Dahomean symbols juxtapose and merge with European symbols, reflecting sources as diverse as African textiles, Catholic processional banners, mosaic flags, and tapestries. Ideas and images that seem incompatible at first glance are woven through with elegance and clarity of thought.
The banners in this exhibition come from the temple of Ceus St. Louis a third generation Houngan (Voudou Priest) and an influential healer and artist in Leogane. St. Louis, known throughout Port-Au-Prince by his nickname, Tibout, meaning stump or little bit in Creole, was born in 1902 with only one arm but with an awareness, even as an infant, of spirits who lived his head. The elders of the Leogane recognized the spirit of Legba in the child and believed Legba gave himself to the childan arm in exchange for a life of spiritual power.
The metal works are represented by Georges Liataud and his outstanding apprentices in cut out or forged metal. Liataud, a black-smith by trade, was first noticed for his embellished crosses in the local cemetery of Croix-Des Bonquets. Although not a Houngan Liataud was deeply affected by Vaudon from his childhood on and most of his sculptures reflect this. Other metal workers in this exhibition are Murat Brierre, Serge Jolmeau, and Gabriel Bien-Amie.
Concurrently on exhibition through December 5th 2004 at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami, Lespri Endepandan: Discovering Haitian Sculpture.